Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has issued advice that enables NHS Boards to allow physicians to prescribe Forxiga (dapagliflozin) as first-in-class type two diabetes treatment.

Forxiga is indicated for restricted use in adults with type two diabetes as dual therapy in combination with metformin, when metformin alone with diet and exercise does not provide adequate glycaemic control and a sulphonylurea is inappropriate.

SMC guidance that follows marketing authorisation by the European Medicines Agency indicates that people with type two diabetes who are not being managed on metformin alone have access to the effective oral, once daily, first-in-class treatment.

University of Glasgow metabolic medicine professor Naveed Sattar said effective blood glucose control is essential in managing type two diabetes and lowering the risk of developing complications, in particular those that effect eyesight or kidney function, but also heart disease and stroke.

"However, weight management is also important and weight reduction is recommended as a first step for managing the condition," Sattar added.

"Physicians are therefore interested to see how new therapies, such as dapagliflozin, can help patients achieve blood glucose targets with the secondary benefit of weight loss."

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Dapagliflozin is developed from phlorizin, a naturally occurring sugar compound found in the bark of apple trees.

The first in a new class of treatments called sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, Dapagliflozin works by reducing the amount of glucose reabsorbed in the kidney.

An increased amount of glucose is passed out of the body by means of the urine each day, along with the associated calories in type two diabetes patients treated with Dapagliflozin.

Bristol Myers-Squibb UK and Ireland VP Amadou Diarra said Dapagliflozin is a first-in-class treatment that lowers blood glucose in a different way to existing treatments, and has the secondary benefit of weight loss.

"The SMC guidance means that people in Scotland now have access to an effective new treatment option," Diarra added.